The sea; it churns, froths, then explodes.
The golden shape launches upwards into the sky, blotting out the sun, casting its glorious shadow. It is mesmerizing. Scintillating. Awesome in its scale and intricate ferocity. It commands your rapturous gaze.
If only it weren't for those teeth. Those many, many, uncountable teeth.
Even after all this time, I’m still surprised that ancient Japanese mythology doesn’t include a shark god in the pantheon. At least not one that I’ve been able to fish out.
In fact, there’s a sad lack of sharks in Japanese legends altogether. Here’s what I’ve been able to find so far:
• Prince Ōnamuji gives some good advice to a rabbit that has been skinned by sharks. Or crocodile-fish. Same thing, right? The rabbit prophesies that he, despite his lowly position, will marry the Princess Yakami. At best, sharks are lateral to the story, not even appearing in person and barely even getting a mention. Sharks should not stand for such humiliation. (source)
• Howori (Or HoOori), ancestor of Japan’t first emperor and descendant of Japan’s first man/deity, Izanagi, marries a woman named Toyotama who transforms into a shark while giving birth to their son Ugaya. She then flees into the sea because her husband witnessed this (shades of Orpheus). Granted, being married to a shark would be a bit of a shock, but nothing a demigod couldn’t adjust to. After all, if she hasn’t chomped on you yet, despite the inevitable squabbles, chances are she’s not going to. (source)
• And then there’s the Isonade which is basically a giant shark-like sea serpent with a barbed tale.
And that’s about it. Almost makes you feel bad for the poor lamnidae.
So, when I was approached with a request to make a shark-themed art piece, I decided to add to the mythology. Like all good deities, this one had to be huge, and fancy,and shiny.
If I recall correctly, The Golden Sea, It Has Teeth was the first time I really embraced chiyogami in my art.
I’d used it before to add patterns and texture, but never so prominently. After all, it's pretty much the bulk of our toothsome protagonist and the focus of the piece.
As usual, I set off with other plans. Probably gray or a more traditional shark color. That’s why, when testing papers, I always try to lay out a couple pieces that I’m pretty sure won’t be right. Usually, they are horrible mistakes. Occasionally though, they turn out to be a revelation.
The Golden Sea, It Has Teeth is the sixth print to return to the shop, in all it’s oceanic majesty.
Maybe even more exciting for print collectors, sets are back! It’s been at least a year since I was able to offer deals on grabbing up a handful of prints. I finally figured out a way to do it! Yippee!
Choose from either your favorite 3 or must-have 5 open-edition giclées. One word of caution… I’m planning on introducing a bunch more prints over the next few weeks, so you might want to hold out a little while longer.